The light pooled across the ground like rain after a storm, when the sun turns all the sidewalks to mercury. It was just like day, but not. The air was humid and stagnant, oppressive, and heavy with the scent of jasmine. There were noises in the trees; noises in the loam, in the sand and in the pools of light that only whispered their content.

The night had to be coaxed and charmed into revealing her secrets. Some said that whores were of the night, but only daylight gave freely of that which was not hers, of that which was hers, to all except those who couldn't suffer her price. The truths of day were surface truths, without depth, while the riddles of the night and the moon ran as deep as you could follow them.

Idle he sat, and not. One could learn many things from listening to the frogs alone. Rough bark slid across his palm, and termites stilled in the tree, while the peepers sang on contentedly. There were less of them that last summer. Listen far enough into the future, and you would hear none. As if reflecting the future, the songs stopped, and the grasses stilled. HE tensed, turning slowly to look down the path. Men and guns, slithering across the leaves. They sounded less like snakes and more like dinosaurs, too lazy to lift their own feet off the ground before putting them down again.

They were filth, and he knew it. He had watched them, night after night. He was always there, even if they weren't. HE listened to what they wouldn't, saw what they couldn't, blinded by the sun and blood. He had seen the pools of future nightlight, across concrete and tar where palmetto belonged, smelt oil and sweat where jasmine should be. He had heard the desperate cries of those twilight-folk who could hear the sun and the moon, murdered by men whose jealousy knew no bounds and had no patience.

He had seen the unstoppable, corrupt future, and knew better than to despair. He knew they could not end the night, any more that he could end the day. They could not touch him, for he was the night, the moonlight, and the air of a Southern summer's midnight. But he could end them, who had defiled his hair, who had shot his snakes and shone beacons of death into the eyes of the gators.

He had no patience for those without patience, for those who cheated with gunpowder and steel, without a passing thought. For those who thought that white hoods could protect their identity and that the panther was gone from Florida. He knew better. HE knew that they would have an end to what he held close, and this gave him the right.

He tensed, moonlight writing the patterns of the future on his back, hair, hands, on the tree beneath him and those beside him above him and beyond him. He tensed and waited; pausing only for the dark wings that vengeance and love could grant him.